Breaking Down Chicago's TIF District Spending

Mon, 10-17-2011
By: Jaun-Pablo Velez


Revenue from Chicago’s TIF Districts

As TIF districts have spread throughout Chicago, and the city’s property values have risen, the property taxes they collect have grown dramatically, funneling over $4 billion to the city since 1986.


How TIF Dollars Were Spent

The bulk of the $1.69 billion in property taxes the city spent between 2002 and late 2010 went to infrastructure and public facilities.

To track how the city has spent TIF funds, the Chicago News Cooperative obtained TIF expense reports from the Chicago Department of Finance through a Freedom of Information Act request. The records were not listed by spending category, so the CNC categorized thousands of payments according to the type of spending, ultimately tracking all but 2 percent of the city’s TIF spending, and making it possible to provide a detailed breakdown of how TIF dollars were spent during Daley’s final two terms. Click here to download CNC’s data.

SPENDING TYPESPENDING SUB-TYPETOTAL SPENT
PUBLIC FACILITIESSchool Construction & Rehab 331,385,306.30
PUBLIC FACILITIESPark Improvements 142,406,189.86
PUBLIC FACILITIESL Station Improvements77,469,492.81
PUBLIC FACILITIESMisc Public Facility Expenses 46,324,264.38
PUBLIC FACILITIESLibrary Construction 13,092,748.17
PUBLIC FACILITIESGallery 37 Building Improvements 7,690,843.86
PUBLIC FACILITIESMetra Planning & Station Improvements 4,822,917.82
PUBLIC FACILITIESPolice Academy Rehab 4,313,647.70
PUBLIC FACILITIESHousehold Waste Recycling Center Construction 1,075,998.62
PUBLIC FACILITIESTOTAL628581409.5
INFRASTRUCTUREStreet Improvements 53,865,494.18
INFRASTRUCTUREStreet Lighting 44,341,218.97
INFRASTRUCTUREMisc Infrastructure Expenses37,127,635.91
INFRASTRUCTUREBridge Repairs34,700,456.98
INFRASTRUCTUREStreetscaping 26,400,069.81
INFRASTRUCTURESewer Repairs 9,339,131.81
INFRASTRUCTUREADA Ramp Construction 6,477,880.29
INFRASTRUCTURETraffic Studies & Management 5,208,656.91
INFRASTRUCTURERiver Bank Stabilization 5,036,970.78
INFRASTRUCTURETraffic Signals 4,953,357.49
INFRASTRUCTURESidewalk Construction 4,343,522.36
INFRASTRUCTUREAlley Construction 2,063,112.69
INFRASTRUCTUREParking Planning & Construction 888,379.03
INFRASTRUCTUREUtility Relocation 616,749.89
INFRASTRUCTUREBike Path Construction 332,442.55
INFRASTRUCTURETOTAL235,695,079.7
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTSDeveloper Subsidies 360,896,632.77
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTSSmall Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) 24,666,558.20
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTSSpecial Service Area Program (SSA) 6,478,000.00
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTSGreen Roof Improvement Fund 1,014,455.00
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTSCentral Loop Improvement Fund 632,625.00
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTSFacade Rebate Program 538,106.00
COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTSTOTAL 394,226,376.97
HOUSING DEVELOPMENTSDeveloper Subsidies 84,959,785.23
HOUSING DEVELOPMENTSNeighborhood Improvement Program (NIP) 15,171,454.86
HOUSING DEVELOPMENTSPublic Housing 11,249,327.31
HOUSING DEVELOPMENTSTOTAL 111,380,567.40
PROPERTYProperty Acquisition & Appraisal149,926,311
PROPERTYProperty Taxes 20,827,620.52
PROPERTYTitle Insurance 5,418,621.00
PROPERTYMisc Property Expenses 4,690,921.51
PROPERTYDemolition 4,623,889.00
PROPERTYRelocation Assistance 4,488,354.85
PROPERTYEnvironmental Cleanup 3,715,314.09
PROPERTYAppraisal 1,112,899.47
PROPERTYProperty Management 1,091,728.37
PROPERTYSite Surveying 851,657.41
PROPERTYTOTAL196236991.5
JOB TRAININGTIFWorks Program14,740,835.23
JOB TRAININGMisc Job Training Expenses 3,455,781.31
JOB TRAININGTOTAL 18,196,616.54
CONSULTING/LEGAL SERVICESConstruction/Engineering 15,186,373.59
CONSULTING/LEGAL SERVICESEnvironmental 1,480,335.97
CONSULTING/LEGAL SERVICESFinance/Professional Services 1,244,765.54
CONSULTING/LEGAL SERVICESStudies 1,096,145.50
CONSULTING/LEGAL SERVICESMisc Consulting Expenses 686,864.31
CONSULTING/LEGAL SERVICESLegal 130,059.44
CONSULTING/LEGAL SERVICESTOTAL 19,824,544.35
ADMINISTRATIVE/STAFF COSTSEmployee Costs 47,046,426.75
ADMINISTRATIVE/STAFF COSTSTIF District Annual Reports 3,624,600.50
ADMINISTRATIVE/STAFF COSTSOffice Expenses 1,504,700.69
ADMINISTRATIVE/STAFF COSTSProgram Management Costs 1,035,341.32
ADMINISTRATIVE/STAFF COSTSMisc Admin/Staff Expenses736,303.81
ADMINISTRATIVE/STAFF COSTSTOTAL 53,947,373.07
UNCLEARTOTAL 31,692,564.30


Where TIF Dollars Were Spent

TIF districts are designed to help blighted areas. As the map of median household income (left) shows, most districts do cover poor areas. However, as the TIF spending map (right) shows, many of the highest-spending TIF districts have been clustered in or around the city’s wealthy downtow. TIF funds can only be spent in the districts that generate them, or in adjacent districts.

The result: just under half of the money spent between 2002 and 2010 went to districts in and around the Loop, where the median household income is roughly $75,000 a year. Less than one fourth went to the South and West Sides, where median incomes are about $35,000.

Although there were few TIF districts with high spending levels, they accounted for a disproportionate amount of the city’s overall TIF outlays.